The Morse Code

How can Morse become a safe space for victims of bullying?

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     Bullying is any form of tormenting another person and making him or her feel like less than what they are. It can be verbal, social, or physical, and has the possibility to occur anywhere, including our own campus.

     We see it in what may look like innocent name calling, playful fighting, and harmless social media posts. It is present in our classrooms, lunch courts, and ever-connected phones. It is happening where we cannot see it – in the minds of our friends and classmates who may claim that everything is okay.

     Some of our peers are forced to face this struggle daily.

     “I had to see the faces of my bullies in almost every class knowing that every time they looked at me, they had something cruel to say,” admitted a student through the Code’s anonymous survey.

     “I would feel scared walking alone in hallways because I would be targeted just for loving who I want to love. I hear countless slurs. I hear people say homophobic and transphobic things that isolate me from society,” another said.

     “[I was told] my mother’s suicide was my fault,” another said.

     Where should these students go? The current policy that the district has in place is to direct students to an online bullying report form (https://www.sandiegounified.org/forms/online-bullying-reporting-form). It asks students for their personal information followed by requiring them to define their bullying experience, ending abruptly with the suggestion of calling a hotline. This takes five business days to process before an investigation can be opened, and is largely isolating, possibly discouraging students from reporting. While this policy is sufficient in the eyes of the district, we at the Morse Code believe there are ways that our community can make contributions to ensure victims feel comfortable in seeking out help.

     No one can be forced to open up if they do not want to. Before any new policies can be implemented, students need to know that there are personal, confidential ways of handling these situations. Whether it is through a trusted friend, teacher, or parent, finding a confidant and establishing trust is critical to having students feel comfortable with sharing their struggles. Teachers can support this process by being aware of the role they have in their students’ lives, listening to their struggles, and taking action to set a good precedent.

     With the lengthy processing time of the online form, it is imperative that there is a way for students to talk about their problems immediately, as this time period can mean the difference between life and death in the most serious cases. Most students simply want someone to talk to. Forcing them to fill out a form and wait days for a response removes all human connection and sympathy. They would not want a stranger handling their problems, so finding someone who can help them and knowing where to go from there will make the process less alienating and encourage students to seek help.

     This needs to work for victims and not against them. Once a situation is reported, it must be taken care of in the timeliest way possible to prevent any further harm to those involved. The case should stay local to the school before deciding if it should be sent to the district, as opposed to defaulting it directly to them.

     With these cases, prevention is not be the most effective approach due to the staggering number of students that would need to be kept track of. No one can force bullying to go away entirely, so taking care of those who are suffering and ensuring they get the appropriate help is the correct approach. Students and teachers alike need to be open and honest when dealing with these issues.

     None of these solutions will have any impact if no one is aware that they exist. Spreading awareness and keeping it maintained is critical, and we must come together to help those who are suffering in silence. Teachers should support their students and be willing to advocate on their behalf. Students will not get in trouble for being the victim, so help must be sought after, as no one should face these struggles alone.

     If you have comments, questions, or concerns, or are willing to share your bullying experience, please visit https://morsenews.com/submit/

2 Comments

2 Responses to “How can Morse become a safe space for victims of bullying?”

  1. Eduardo Bustos on September 27th, 2018 8:37 am

    i feel moved by this and kinda like it i subscribe too ❤️

  2. Ira Byers on September 27th, 2018 8:43 am

    Never let someone make u feel like your nothing, just kill them with kindness

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